The Arizona Cardinals defense took a major hit when superstar Darnell Dockett went down with an ACL tear, but the team responded accordingly Wednesday.
Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reported that the Cardinals signed defensive lineman Tommy Kelly after bringing him in for a visit Wednesday. Kelly played for the New England Patriots last season but was released this offseason.
The Cardinals announced the signing on their official Twitter page:
Kelly tore his ACL last year after playing in five games, so there is an element of risk involved with this signing. He did notch 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks before the injury and will look to pressure quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick in the NFC West for the Cardinals.
Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com passed along a quote from Kelly regarding his release and his time in New England:
Tommy Kelly on reason for his release: "I don't know but I enjoy my time and my teammates. I have no problem moving along with my career."— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) August 24, 2014
Kelly will join Frostee Rucker and Isaac Sopoaga as candidates to play some of the snaps that would have been designated to Dockett.
The Cardinals are in an absolutely loaded division that features the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, who just so happen to be the team Seattle beat in the NFC Championship Game.
The only way Arizona will compete for a postseason spot is with a repeat performance from last year’s strong defense. The Cardinals won 10 games behind a stout run defense that finished first in the NFL in yards allowed per game.
Adding Kelly to the mix at defensive tackle will ideally help that defense account for the loss of Dockett moving forward. At age 33 and coming off an injury, however, it will be interesting to see if Kelly can regain some of his earlier form.